Greg Chako - A Place For Bass-Chamber Jazz Duets
Greg Chako is a very skilled jazz guitarist and composer who performs music in his own individual voice with consistent creativity. But because he has spent long periods living overseas, he is not as well-known as his talents deserve. The release of his latest album, A Place For Bass – Chamber Jazz Duets should help improve the situation. The collaborations with bassist Mason Daugherty, which feature the duo operating as equals, is the latest accomplishment in his very productive career.
A Place For Bass originated when Greg Chako realized that “I’ve recorded duos with piano and voice but I’ve never written anything specifically for the bass. That was ironic because bass-guitar duos are the most common format for gigs. Because I’m less interested in virtuous guitar playing than in composing songs that are close to my heart, for this album I put the bass on top.” The bass professor from the University of Cincinnati recommended Mason Daugherty and Greg knew within a couple of songs that the brilliant young bassist would be perfect for the project.
While there have been some notable guitar-bass recordings in the past, most notably by the teams of Jim Hall & Ron Carter and Joe Pass & Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson, A Place For Bass is quite a bit different due to the equal roles played by the two musicians (Daugherty is never just an accompanist) and Greg Chako’s intricate arrangements and compositions. A Place For Bass has an impressive amount of variety including a jazz waltz, a major blues, a minor blues, some more contemporary-sounding songs, numbers inspired by Bach and Brazilian music, and a couple of contrafacts (originals utilizing the chord changes but not the melody of standards). It is also filled with unpredictable moments that add to the music’s quiet excitement.
While Chako thinks of himself more as a composer than as a guitarist, both of his talents are very much in evidence throughout A Place For Bass, a subtle and quietly inventive work that grows in interest with each listen. By Scott Yanow